If you take aspirin to protect against heart disease, you probably wonder “Does Aspirin Really Help To Prevent Heart Disease?” If so, you aren’t alone. Millions of Americans are prescribed baby aspirin to reduce their risk of developing heart disease. According to a new study, however, 10% of these individuals are wrongly prescribed the medicine and might be surprised.
A study published in the journal American College of Cardiology, suggests that as many as 1 in 10 people who use baby aspirin to reduce their risk of heart disease are wrongfully prescribed the drug.
Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas analyzed data from 68,808 patients who were taking baby aspirin daily to reduce their risk of heart disease. This data was collected from the National Cardiovascular Disease Registry Practice Innovation and Clinical Excellence (PINNACLE) Registry. Researchers concluded that patients with a 10-year heart disease risk of less than 6% should not take daily aspirin. Furthermore, the study revealed that 10% of patients taking baby aspirin were wrongfully prescribed the drug.The American Heart Association (AHA) says that people at high risk for developing heart disease should consider taking a low-dose daily aspirin. A separate study found that aspirin — when taking daily — lowered patients’ risk of developing heart disease by 18%. However, it also increased their risk of major extracranial bleeding by 54%.
The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranks heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States among men and women (source). Current data indicates that as many as 600,000 people die from heart disease each year. And the cost of treating coronary disease totals over $109 billion annually.
“Medical providers must consider whether the potential for bleeding [outweighs] the potential benefits of aspirin therapy in patients who don’t yet meet the guidelines for prescribing aspirin therapy,” said Dr. Ravi S. Hira and Dr. Salim S. Virani, lead researchers from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “Since aspirin is available over the counter, patient and public education against using aspirin without a medical provider’s recommendation will also play a key role in avoiding inappropriate use.”
So, should you take a daily aspirin to reduce your risk of developing heart disease? This is a question that only you and your primary care physician can answer. Talk with your doctor about the benefits and potential risks of a daily aspirin regimen to determine whether or not it’s right for you.
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